OHIO: On Tuesday, July 30th, local cannabis advocates had cause for celebration when Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 57 into law, which removes hemp from Ohio’s list of controlled substances. The bill will impact both state agriculture and local business because it allows for the cultivation of hemp as well as the manufacture and sale of hemp-derived products.
The law has generated a lot of bi-partisan support which helps to account for the bill’s easy passage through the Ohio legislature; it also contains an emergency clause which permits retailers to immediately resume the sale of hemp-derived products.
Previously, Ohio officials had targeted local retailers who sold hemp-derived products by embargoing any inventory that was sold outside of state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. Now that Senate Bill 57 has passed, those retailers will have the embargoes on their inventory lifted.
The 2018 Farm Bill had resulted in the federal legalization of hemp that contains under 0.3% of the THC compound, which in turn led to a surge of interest in the hemp industry. This has forced many states, including Ohio, to re-evaluate their classification of hemp and hemp-derived products.
Ohio is still in the process of devising the exact requirements relating to the distribution of licenses to growers who wish to cultivate hemp; upon their completion, these regulations will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approval. The state has also indicated that there will be no set limit to the amount of licenses that they will authorize.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture published a statement on their website which gives information about the new law relating to growers who may be interested in securing a license to grow hemp. The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has also posted a guidance regarding their interpretation of the new state regulations.